Alexander Zverev eyes big season after breakout 2021

Alexander Zverev had the best season of his career in 2021 and the world number three on Friday said he plans to do even better with the ATP Cup in the coming year. The German ace secured his second ATP Finals title in November, putting on a scintillating performance to defeat world number two Daniil Medvedev, adding to the Olympic gold medal he won in Tokyo. That trophy year in Turin was his sixth year and he is eager to build up the momentum, starting with a tough 2022 opening on Sunday against Britain’s 12th-ranked Cameron Norie at the ATP Cup in Sydney.

“It’s a big challenge. After the first few matches, I will know where I am,” he said ahead of the 16-team tournament starting Saturday.

Zverev also won the ATP Finals title in 2018, only to have a bad 2019.

But he added that he has evolved as a player and person since then and hopes it will be a springboard for an even better season this time around.

“I was too young. I was 21 to go into the 2019 season. It was my first major title in the 2018 Nieto ATP Finals,” Zverev said.

“I think I’m a slightly different player, but at the same time I’m a different person, I think. I have a lot more experience on the court, I have a lot more experience off the court.

“I know how to handle the media maybe a little bit better. I know how to handle pressure, maybe even a little better.”

Zverev called the fact that he continued his red-hot Olympic form the rest of the year well into 2022 and that the momentum would help propel him to “the best season of my career”.

“It’s going to be an exciting year for tennis, because I think in the first six months of this (2021) season, Novak (Djokovic) has dominated tennis,” he said.

“He’s won all three Grand Slams, every major singles title.

“But in the last six months of the season, I think the titles were a little more divided. They were split between Novak, Daniels and me.”

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Germany lost to Medvedev’s Russia in the last four in the 2021 ATP Cup and Zverev is confident of going at least one better this time with teammates Jan-Lenard Struff, Yannick Hanfmann, Kevin Kravitz and Tim Puetz.

Norrie’s clash with Britain is their Davis Cup semi-final rematch in early December, where Kravitz and Puetz won a crucial doubles rubber to send Germany.

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